Is “Bright Shiny Object Syndrome” Stifling Your Business’s Growth?

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In my blog post, What Does It Take To Grow Your Business, I talked about five key components that must be in place if you want your business to grow. In this post I’m going to take a more in-depth look at one of those components: a limited number of clearly defined priorities.

We have limited resources – time, talent, energy, brainpower – and when we try to focus those resources in too many different directions we stunt our business’s growth. Imagine that I gave you 100 seeds to plant. However, because of water restrictions, you had access to only a limited supply of water. You have to decide whether to plant all hundred seeds and water them just once or plant 10 seeds and water them 10 times. Which choice is the most likely to result in a successful crop? Clearly the second option gives you the greatest chance for success.

As business owners and leaders we too often spread our limited resources of time, talent and money too thinly and end up without enough water, fertilizer and manpower to tend to all the seeds we’ve planted. It is imperative, if we want our seeds of ideas to grow roots and bear fruit, that we identify and focus on those critical issues or key initiatives that will truly move us toward our most important goals.

In his book, The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results, Gary Keller (who is by the way the “Keller” in Keller Williams Real Estate) drives this point home by suggesting that we need to identify the One Thing that we can do that will lead us to our goal and make much of the other things we are doing unnecessary. I highly recommend the book.

So how do you identify and then maintain a focus on those two or three (or if you’re really brave, the one) key initiative or critical issue where you and your team can focus your efforts to generate the greatest return?

1. You must be very clear on the outcome, goal or vision you have for your business. What is the most important thing you want to accomplish? Where do you want the business to be three to five years from now?

2. Brainstorm a list of all the strategies or approaches you could use to achieve the desired outcome, goal or vision. For example if your goal is to grow your business to $1 million in revenue you could merge with another firm, add a new product line or lines, focus on new customer groups, expand to new geographic areas, and probably a dozen other things that would bring in additional revenue. However you can’t successfully do all of them.

3. Pick the top strategy or approach that you will use to achieve your goal. You may ultimately have to sell to a new customer group and expand into a new geographic area. Pick one to start with though. I know, this step is really hard!

4. Identify the top 3-5 critical issues and/or key initiatives that you must overcome or accomplish in order to achieve your outcome or goal. If you said you wanted to expand into a new geographic area, critical issues and key initiatives might include: identifying the geographic area, establishing a sales force in the area and implementing a marketing campaign.

5. Identify the first one to two steps that you need to take for each critical issue or key initiative. The first two steps in identifying the geographic area might be establishing the criteria and identifying areas that meet the criteria.

It’s that simple. If only it were that easy! You might also want to consider investing in a pair of blinders – you know the kind they put on horses to keep them from being distracted by what’s going on around them. I put mine on regularly.

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POSTED ON: Strategy and Vision
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